The property buying process in Italy 

The prospect of buying a property in Italy can be daunting so it’s important that you arm yourself with as much information as possible and understand the process before entering into a property purchase. In Italy the buying process comes in three stages:

1. Proposa d’aquisto 

The first stage of the property buying process in Italy, the Proposa d’aquisto, is the opening formal offer. It’s at this point that you will be required to pay a small deposit of approximately five per cent (which is typically held by either your lawyer or the estate agent) and sign a reservation offer. This usually ensures that the Italian property is taken off the market, typically for 15 days but this can be longer in some cases. This gives your Italian lawyer time to complete any necessary searches to ensure that the property is free of any debts, mortgages, etc. The deposit is non-refundable unless the sale falls through due to legal reasons. This contract is not legally enforceable until the seller has formally accepted the offer and signed the contract.

2. Contratto Preliminare de Vendita 

The second phase of the buying process in Italy is marked by both parties signing a binding preliminary contract, Contratto Preliminare di Vendita. Estate agents in Italy and those selling privately often try to persuade buyers that this is not essential. However, this contract is crucial as it sets out the selling conditions including a description of the property, rights of way, ownership rights and outlines the key agreements of the transaction.

At this stage you will need to pay a deposit of 10-20 per cent of the property purchase price, which is non-refundable unless there is a valid legal reason to withdraw from the sale. Once this has been signed if the seller backs of the contract they must repay the full sum to the buyer. Plus you also have the right to claim compensation for the same amount, which can be applied for through the Italian courts.

3. Atto di Vendita (also known as Rogito)

The final stage of the property buying process in Italy is known as the known as the Atto di Vendita (deed of sale). It is at this point that the notaio (Italian notary) gets involved. The deed of sale is a conveyance document drafted by the notaio, which your Italian lawyer will review, marking the legal transfer of ownership. This is signed by both the buyer and vendor in the presence of the notaio at the notaio’s office, completing the final stage of the buying process in Italy.

Aside from setting up utilities (and your Italian lawyer may be happy to assist you with this) and home insurance it’s then time to sit back and enjoy your Italian property!

For more information about buying property in Italy you can download our FREE buying guide or check out our Italian blog for the latest information and news about buying a property in Italy!  

If you need an independent Italian English-speaking lawyer contact the team at Total Buying Abroad for a recommendation on 01244 478911 or email



Article published: July 12, 2018